Mr Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway which is a major shareholder of Heinz Kraft, was asked by an interviewer on CNBC why the massive consumer goods company had made an offer for its Anglo-Dutch rival even though the latter was clearly not interested in a tie-up.
He said that “if a diplomat says yes, he means maybe. If he says maybe, he means no. And if he says no, he’s no diplomat.”
He then added that “if a lady says no, she means maybe. And if she says maybe, she means yes. And if she says yes, she's no lady.”
Mr Buffett has a reputation for recounting folksy tales to illustrate business practices and the psychology of investing, but this time he appeared to cross a line, triggering a wave of disapproval and mockery.
“Warren Buffett’s analogy for Kraft’s failed Unilever takeover is cringeworthy,” news outlet Fortune tweeted from its official account.
In a letter to investors in 2007, Mr Buffett compared unsuccessful business deals to "ugly" women saying: “A line from Bobby Bare’s country song explains what too often happens with acquisitions: 'I’ve never gone to bed with an ugly woman, but I’ve sure woke up with a few.'”
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